Hi everyone! Welcome to another EMQs interview, this time with Canadian Melodic Death Metal/ Metalcore band, Vortex. Huge thanks to their guitarist and founder member, Dany, for taking part. 

What is your name, what do you play and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

My name is Dany Levesque, I’m the founder and guitar player of VORTEX. In 2015, the 5 of us decided to form a band because all our other projects were dead or not going very well. We all have studio and live experience and soon had the offer to join PRC Music, our late label. We have played more than 200 shows until now and we are releasing our third album on June 9th. 

How did you come up with your band name?

We come from a French part of Canada; I wanted a band name that worked in French as well as in English. At the time I was looking for a name, I was reading a lot about science, especially about physics, general relativity, black holes, all that kind of stuff. That’s how the name came to me, an interest in physics and the need for a bilingual name. 

What Country / Region are you from and what is the Metal / Rock scene like there?

We live in cold Northeastern Quebec, Canada. In the province of Quebec, the scene is not as strong as it used to be but it’s one of the strongest in Canada. There are about 50 bands producing albums and playing live on a regular basis, and most of them are great and very professional. The fans are still showing up to the shows, but the crowd is smaller and getting older and older. Some kids still listen to Metal but nowadays more of them listen to mainstream and hip-hop.

What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)

We have a new record entitled “THE FUTURE REMAINS IN OBLIVION”, it is coming out on June 9th.  We released two singles in the last few months. Here is the link to the music video for FIRST BLOOD: https://youtu.be/wd-yfifrrzq

Who have been your greatest influences?

As the years went by, we were influenced by many bands, but I would say that the ones who really had an impact on us for the writing and the production of our new record were Shadow of Intent, Septicflesh, Lorna Shore, Dimmu Borgir, Fleshgod and…. Hans Zimmer.

What first got you into music?

After a brief hockey career, I started playing the guitar, only for fun and because I’m a huge fan of music in general. But you meet people who have the same passion as you and get together with your instruments and after a while, you want to find a drummer to jam Slayer and Pantera songs. Like many musicians, my first band was playing covers in clubs but nowadays my interest and motivation is 100% driven by the magic of creating original songs and playing them live for our fans. I don’t have any interest in playing anything besides originals. The creation process, the studio work, playing our own songs live on stage, that’s what’s interesting to me. There is nothing assatisfying as creating something original from scratch with people that you love and have a musical connection with.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

For writing it would be Hans Zimmer, we are huge fans. If I had to choose someone to produce an album it would be Devin Townsend and to tour with it would be Shadow of Intent or Lorna Shore. 

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

Wacken because of its legendary status, or maybe the 70,000 Tons of Metal, it must be so much fun to play on a cruise.  

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

I don’t recall a weird gift but there was this guy who asked if I could sign one of my guitars and sell it to him. I had too many instruments for my needs at that moment, so I agreed on selling one.

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

Give a shot at our new record “THE FUTURE REMAINS IN OBLIVION”! The songs are still melodic/orchestral but much more aggressive and some of them have a black metal influence. Our goal was to create songs that would have a greater impact on our live shows. Aggressive songs work well live. We feel the album is a good combination of aggression/melody, and ugliness/beauty. It is a conceptual album and there is a build-up in intensity and emotion that goes along with the storyline and the lyrics from the first song to the last one. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we had fun making it.

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

Can’t think of only one and all for different reasons. In my opinion, Fredy Mercury was one of the greatest rock artists of all time so I’ll go with him. But what if Cliff Burton had not been killed in an accident, what if he had used his influence in the band to keep Metallica ‘’on the right path’’? And what if Dead and Euronymous were still alive, would black metal be what it is now musically and commercially? 

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

I love the creative process. It’s very hard to create good music, you need focus and dedication but it’s so fulfilling and exciting. Playing live is a very different thing but I love it equally. I love the whole process of it, going on the road to meet the fans and the other bands, the camaraderie, the technical aspects, preparing the stage, etc. It’s all fun to me. If you only enjoy your 40 minutes on stage, you won’t last for long in a band… The only thing I really hate is when a band member is not committed, reliable nor motivated, thank God it is not the case with any of the guys in Vortex.  

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

The fact is that without money you won’t go anywhere as a band. Labels don’t invest much in new bands and everything from the studio to the gear to going on the road costs so much. You better have good jobs when starting a band. It’s not just about being a good artist, it’s also that without money to invest from your own pocket you’ll never produce any music, will never go on tour, will never promote your band and no one will ever hear from you aside from your friends and local fans.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Non-metal I would say “Black Celebration” from Depeche Mode. Rock I’d say White Lion’s “Big Game”. Metal is tough, there are too many of them, but I would choose Iron Maiden’s “Piece of Mind” because this is the album I listened to the most when I was a kid.  

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CDs or Downloads?

For many years I’ve only been using digital platforms. They are so convenient, I listen to much more music because of them, and I discovered so many great bands that I would never have heard of otherwise.  Artists should get paid way more though; the platforms should return more money to the artists, but I also think it should cost more. 150$ a year for Spotify is nothing compared to what people used to pay for CDs. My point is that the fees should be higher, and a larger part should be returned to the artists.

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

In late 2022/early 2023 we played with AETERNAM on The Canadian Symphonic Assault tour. It was great, we had a lot of people showing up to the shows. We are good friends with AETERNAM and like us they have orchestrations, so our two bands fit well together. It was the first time we played the new song from “THE FUTURE REMAINS IN OBLIVION”. They are intense live songs, and the response was incredible.

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

I train a lot and if it wasn’t for the time I spend on music I would train a lot more. I was a hockey goaltender for my university’s team when I started playing the guitar. I don’t play hockey anymore, but I run, swim, roller skate, etc. Sports are in my DNA, it’s a way of life.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

I would make two, one would be with musicians and the other one with scientists/doctors:

Devin Townsend, Steve Vai, King Diamond, Nergal, and Martin Gore.
David St. Claire, Jordan Peterson, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Eric Weinstein, and Andrew Huberman.

What’s next for the band?

The album is coming out June 9th and we’re going to tour Canada from September to December. In 2024 we want to tour Europe, that’s the plan. We already know what the next studio project is going to be, we’ve already started working on it. Because of Covid, it took 4 years to put some new material out, and we want to release new songs much faster in the future.

What social media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

This Linktree will give you the links to our social media, videos, music, web page, etc. https://linktr.ee/vortexband

Time for a very British question now. As an alternative to the humble sandwich, is the correct name for a round piece of bread common in the UK either a Bap, a Barm (or Barm Cake), a Batch, a Bun, a Cob, a Muffin, a Roll or a Tea Cake?

It would be a Bun.

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

I would also like to ask your readers who have never heard of us to give a serious listen to our music, especially Lighthouse and our new record “The Future Remains in Oblivion”. At this moment the challenge – besides offering quality recorded material and live shows – is to have people’s attention. It is so easy nowadays to go from one band to another on Spotify and listen mostly to the big bands and hits. I’d be grateful to those who would take their time to listen a few times to our new record so they can really get into it. I know this is not how it goes now but in my opinion that’s the only way to fully understand and appreciate an artist. 

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